The development of tools for tracing and evaluating the genetic impact of fish from aquaculture (AquaTrace) (38948)

Project Details


The genetic changes associated with domestication in aquaculture pose an increasing threat to the integrity of native fish gene pools. Consequently, there is a bourgeoning need for the development of molecular tools to assess and monitor the genetic impact of escaped or released farmed fish. In addition, exploration of basic links between genetic differences among farmed and wild fish and differences in important life-history traits with fitness consequences are crucial prerequisites for designing biologically informed management strategies.

The project “AquaTrace” will establish an overview of current knowledge on aquaculture breeding, genomic resources and previous research projects for the marine species seabass, seabream and turbot. The project will apply cutting-edge genomic methods for the development of high-powered, cost-efficient, forensically validated and transferable DNA based tools for identifying and tracing the impact of farmed fish in the wild.

Controlled experiments with wild and farmed fish and their hybrids will be conducted with salmon and brown trout as model organisms using advanced “common garden” facilities. These experiments will elucidate the fundamental consequences of introgression by pinpointing and assessing the effects on fitness of specific genomic regions.

Generated insights will form the basis of a risk assessment and management recommendations including suggestions for mitigation and associated costs. This information and the developed molecular tools will be available as open-access support to project participants and external stakeholders including the aquaculture industry. The project is expected to facilitate technology transfer to the aquaculture sector by promoting better tailored breeding practices and traceability throughout production chain. Overall this initiative will support the development of sustainable European aquaculture and provide “Good Environmental Status” in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

DTU Aqua, National Institute of Aquatic Resources (coordinator)
Institute of Marine Research, Norway
University of Padova, Italy
University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
KU Leuven, Belgium
TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network Limited, UK
Joint Research Centre, European Commission, Belgium
National Institute of Agricultural Research, France
Bangor University, UK
12 other partners

This project was funded by EU, Framework Programme 7.

Research area: Population Genetics
Effective start/end date01/11/201231/10/2016

Collaborative partners

  • Technical University of Denmark (lead)
  • INRAE (Project partner)
  • European Commission Joint Research Centre Institute (Project partner)
  • Institute of Marine Research (Project partner)
  • Universita di Padova (Project partner)
  • Stichting Katholieke Universiteit (Project partner)
  • University of Santiago de Compostela (Project partner)
  • Bangor University (Project partner)
  • TRACE Wildlife Forensics Network Limited (Project partner)


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